4:00 pm-5:30 pm
Join an online public community learning series as a special work group reviews Arlington policing policies and practices, with this session mainly focused on mental health and policing. The goal is to ensure the use of best practices and reinforce trust between our police and the community.
About the September 21 Community Learning Session
The Mental Health Work Group welcomes guest speakers Tim Black, Director of Consulting at White Bird Clinic and CAHOOTS organizer, and Joe Smarro, a police officer working in the San Antonio police department’s mental health unit and focus of the HBO documentary Ernie and Joe: Crisis Cops, to discuss a non-police alternative to responding to psychiatric, substance abuse crisis calls. Learn more about the PPG and work groups.
Learn about CAHOOTS and Ernie & Joe Crisis Cops
CAHOOTS: 31 years ago the City of Eugene, Oregon developed an innovative community-based public safety system to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction. White Bird Clinic launched CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) as a community policing initiative in 1989.
The CAHOOTS model has been in the spotlight recently as our nation struggles to reimagine public safety. The program mobilizes two-person teams consisting of a medic (a nurse, paramedic, or EMT) and a crisis worker who has substantial training and experience in the mental health field. The CAHOOTS teams deal with a wide range of mental health-related crises, including conflict resolution, welfare checks, substance abuse, suicide threats, and more, relying on trauma-informed de-escalation and harm reduction techniques. CAHOOTS staff are not law enforcement officers and do not carry weapons; their training and experience are the tools they use to ensure a non-violent resolution of crisis situations. They also handle non-emergent medical issues, avoiding costly ambulance transport and emergency room treatment. For background on CAHOOTS, and to learn more on how social workers and police can share responsibilities, listen to this interview with NPR.
Erin & Joe Crisis Cops: ERNIE & JOE is an intimate portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls. The film takes audiences on a personal journey, weaving together their experiences during their daily encounters with people in crisis. These two officers are not your everyday cops. They are part of the San Antonio Police Department’s 10-person Mental Health Unit. Watch the trailer for Ernie & Joe and learn more about this project here.
How You Can Participate
Please submit any comments or feedback for the PPG via our online form.